Staying at home

I woke up with a very stiff neck this morning and had no idea what I had done to it during my sleep!

The snow which fell upon us all yesterday had disappeared completely and now Shoreditch looks as grubby as any rainy day. As you can imagine, I did not take Bella to the park because the ground would be too greasy with the melting snow.

While I am half-crippled with a sore neck, Bella the Action Woman is full of energy and needs some outlet to spend it urgently.

‘I need something to destroy!’


She was trying so hard but alas, the toys appeared to be beyond her reach.
Carry on, Bella and leave me in peace so I can nurse my damn neck…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Saturday Lunch @ Charlotte Street W1

Even though the amount of grass pollens in the air was at its highest, Hubbie, Mr.B and I decided to have a leisurely lunch on Charlotte Street last Saturday.

We waited for Hubbie on tha pavement while he brought a car out of the underground car park. It was rather breezy and Mr.B looked like as if he was being blow-dried…


We parked our car near Hubbie’s office and walked towards Charlotte Street.
BT Tower was standing tall against the sky decorated with wispy clouds like an Olympic torch…


We found a table at Côte.
Mr.B was excited to be greeted with a basket of bread…


Across the street, I saw Josephine’s Filipino Restaurant


Come to think of it, I never had any cuisine from Philippine and am very intrigued.
I suggested Hubbie if we could have a go at the place one evening. However spice-shy Hubbie suggested that I should look for an alternative dining companion… *RAT*

We tucked in steak and French fries. The sirloin was slightly overdone which I found rather regrettable…


To accompany the steak, we shared tomato, shallot & basil salad…


Then, we rounded up our meal with apple tart with ice cream…


After lunch, we strolled to Park Camera off Oxford Street to buy a tripod.
Mr.B waited patiently in the carrier while Hubbie pondered which one to buy…


Being ever so workaholic, Hubbie couldn’t help checking his inbox while Mr.B looked up to him quizzically.

‘What are you looking at?’


Charlotte Street glows in the mellow afternoon sun…


On our way back to the car, we came across Pollock’s Toy Museum on Scala Street…


The museum has been a place which I was meant to visit for years but not yet done so. I must must come back to it very soon…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Hana Chouchin @ Higashinomon

After visiting Niō-mon, I sauntered eastbound, leaving Zenkō-ji behind. Tiny snow flakes were dancing in the afternoon sunshine and I could see my breath rising like mist in the air. The street leading towards Zenkō-ji Shita station was sloping downward and icy, therefore, I trod tentatively with a mincing gait.
Then, I came across a half-opened threshold with an easel, displaying a shop sign “Hana Chouchin”…


From the door way, I could see bookshelves filled with intriguing looking books and prints. So I entered the shop, uttering ‘Gomenkidasai!’ – ‘Hello, is anybody there?’
Upon hearing my voice, an old lady appeared from behind the Shouji-sliding door and greeted me with a warm smile.

The shop was an Aladdin’s cave for retro toy fans and vintage print collectors. The lady explained to me that most of the vintage books and prints were her father’s and they were passed down to her upon his death.
I kneeled down in front of the shelf and flicked through them. Despite their old age, they had no musty smell of old prints and the conditions were very good.
Then, another old lady emerged from behind the door, holding a cup of coffee for me. Those two old ladies turned out to be sisters and were running the shop together.
The latter lady used to work for a children’s book department and the items on sale were her collection which accumulated over the years…


Oh, I do remember them!
I spotted some of my favourite stories straightaway amongst the books on display…


The shop was overflowing with old-fashioned toys and playthings made from timber, fabric & paper…


These toys were uncomplicated and tangible yet sure to fuel a child’s endless imagination and creativity…


This shelf was laden with traditional toys which generations of Japanese children played with them during New Years holiday. Kites with samurai warriors, card games with old-style illustrations, a Hagoita – Japanese badminton with a wooden rackets & shuttlecock, retro comic books…


The shop was a treasure trove for children and children at heart. For grown-ups, it would be a reunion with childhood memories. And for real-time children, it would be an eye-opening experience…


The sisters explained that they had no intention of starting the business when they initially rented this space. They needed some room to sort out their overflowing collection of old books and toys. However, the property they rented used to be a shop and gave them an idea that they could start a book/toy shop for local people…


At the time of my visit, the shop’s open time was limited to weekend only and the shop had no website. However, it is definitely well worth seeking out this discreet gem near Zenkō-ji…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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